The Spectator

Portrait of the Week - 2 August 2003

A speedy round-up of the week's news

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Mr Alastair Campbell was expected to resign as the director of communications and strategy at the Prime Minister's office before the Labour party conference at the end of September. Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, let it be known through friends including Lord Falconer of Thoroton that he intends to complete a third term. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service proposed that women up to nine weeks pregnant should be allowed to induce abortions with drugs at home; the foetus would be thrown down the lavatory. As part of investigations into the murder of a young boy whose torso was found floating in the Thames, 200 police arrested 21 people in south and east London suspected of immigration offences and people-trafficking. Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer who shot dead a teenage burglar, was released from prison after serving two-thirds of a five-year sentence for manslaughter; Brendon Fearon, the other burglar, who was wounded in the incident, was released three days earlier after serving a third of an 18-month sentence for subsequently supplying drugs. A money-laundering case at Southwark Crown Court collapsed after 418 days of legal arguments without a jury even being sworn in; Judge George Bathurst Norman said that a ten-year investigation into drug-trafficking amounted to 'state-created crime' in which police had tried 'to lure as many people as possible to their honeypot'. A pot of Roman face-cream, with fingermarks still visible, was found at an archaeological dig in Southwark. Bob Hope, the comedian, died, aged 100. Trade unions spent days in talks with British Airways after unofficial strikes last month cost it £30 million. In Carmarthen 600 people queued for hours outside the Brynteg Dental Practice to secure 300 places with a new National Health Service dentist. Nine out of ten ladybirds in London were found to suffer from a sexually transmitted fungal disease caught because of increased activity spurred by a plentiful diet of greenfly, which in turn thrive in polluted air.

The American authorities in Iraq released photographs of the wounded faces of the dead Uday and Qusay Hussein, which were reproduced in the British press and on television. American troops killed five Iraqi civilians driving past a house belonging to Prince Rabiah Muhammed al-Habib in the al-Mansur district of Baghdad where the troops thought Saddam Hussein might be. The number of American soldiers killed in Iraq since the end of the main hostilities on 1 May rose by nine to 50. Twenty-eight pages of a Congressional report on 11 September were kept secret; they deal with aid for al-Qa'eda from people in Saudi Arabia. Saudi police raided a farm at al-Qassim, 220 miles north-west of Riyadh, searching for terrorists and shooting six men dead. President George Bush of the United States met Mr Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel, in Washington. Mr Sharon said afterwards that a wall would continue to be built around the West Bank. Before the meeting Israel announced the release of 200 Palestinians including members of Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Fighting continued in the Liberian capital of Monrovia and its second city, Buchanan. In Manila 300 junior army officers and enlisted men occupied a shopping centre, wired it up with explosives and demanded the resignation of President Gloria Arroyo, whose government they accused of corruption; they surrendered after a day. Zimbabwe, hit by inflation, ran out of bank notes and cheque books. President Jacques Chirac of France swore that criminals suspected of starting dozens of wildfires on the Mediterranean coast would be hunted down. Government ministers from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania wrote to the mayor of Athens of their 'indignation' at plans to increase the number of licences for brothels in the city for the Olympic Games next year.